What We Say 2006 'Duc de Montfort' Gigondas
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Mission Codename: The Left Bank
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red on an undercover mission to France, to discover a fantastic and very limited Gigondas. Procure any available bottles for our deserving Francophone Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Maison Bouachon
Wine Subject: 2006 Duc De Montfort Gigondas AOC
The Gigondas AOC is located just across the river from the famed Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation and adjacent to the famed villages of Lirac and Tavel. Under the watchful eye of the dramatically rugged Dentelles de Montmirail, known for its lacy look and not teeth as most visitors assume (Dentelle means lace, dents means teeth in French).
The wines of Gigondas must be made with no more than 80% Grenache, at least 15% of Syrah and Mourvedre with the remainder being no more than 10% of any local grape except Carignan. Today wine, from Maison Bouachon, is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet with pretty edges of ruby red to slightly lilac – in the right light. The core is darker, but maintains good clarity throughout. When swirled, the wine shows as tightly springy. When it settles, it leaves behind thick, branching tears that emerge quickly before running quickly down the edges of the glass
Smell – Medium intensity with an initial rush of spiced fruit, with notes of cherry, plum and cassis. These intermingle with white pepper, hints of black olive and earthy truffle
Feel – This medium bodied wine has a smooth and rich feel. The wine is dry and firm, with smoothly textured tannins that coat the mouth.
Taste – Bing cherry and strawberry on the attack, then darker and concentrated plum, herbs, black pepper and earthy dried mushroom and tangy sweetwoods appear. These are backed by solid acidity and flinty spice. Flavors evolve on the palate, moving from sweet and tart, to more mineral-dry – and then back to sweet – well into the finish
Finish – Clean and long with flavors and sensations that evolve as a lingering minerality and textured tannins firmly hold the fruit and mineral characteristics in check as flavors tail off slowly
Conclusion – This is a very interesting and delicious wine that took me by surprise. While Gigondas has often been called “poor man’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape”, I contend that this wine is just as good as – or even better than – some CDPs I have had the pleasure to try. Where Chateauneuf is often reported to be bolder and more spicy than a Gigondas, today’s wine has plenty of character, including a good amount of spice. Allow the wine time to open up, and be rewarded with richer and more authentic fruit flavors.
The Wine Spies are always excited when our assets bring us exclusive wines (today’s selection is only available at retail through The Wine Spies) of character and distinction, especially when they are from regions and Terroirs that have real history.
The Gigondas AOC, often overlooked by its neighbor Chateauneuf-du-Pape is just one of those places. While we love Chateauneuf-du-Pape, we find that the wines from Gigondas, while having similar flavors are not as intense on the palate. That’s not to say that these wines lack focus, quite the contrary. These wines are approachable and fun but also show classic aromas and flavors that we love so much.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the the Gigondas AOC in France’s southern Rhone can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Skalli Grand Vin du Rhone
Ancients baptize ‘Montfort’ (hard mountain) this hardest part of Dentelles de Montmirail hills make up with granite, produced from the Alps folding.
_*The Maison Bouachon Gigondas marries strength and generosity. The maturing process in our cellars gives this wine its full harmony.* _
About This Wine:
Colour: Deep strong purple colour.
Smell: First impact very expressive on candied crunchy fruit, black cherry and plum delicately mixed with “garrigue” flavour (thyme, rosemary) and Laurel and finishing on chocolate and white pepper notes.
Mouth: A supple and fresh attack associating candied fruit and liquorice. Tannins are all in finesse and give to “Duc de Montfort” potential and mellow. A final with sweets notes.
Vineyard soil: “Duc de Montfort” is produced from vines growing on middle terraces, an extremely sunny rocky plateau overhanging the left bank of the Ouvèze, on the western slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail hills. Grape berries benefit of the sun heat during the day and fresh night, thus all the fruity is put under light.
Grape varieties: The black Grenache (70 %) is the main variety taken for its mellow, the Syrah (30 %) adds structure, deep colour and complexity.
Wine making: The processing consists in selection of parcels looking for the exposure, the slope and the age of the grapes: old Grenache (70 years old) and younger Syrah (30-40 years old), low yields. Grapes are harvested by hands and rigorously sorted. Each grape variety is vinified separately after total de-stemming. Skin fermentation lasts for approximatively 3 weeks with daily pumping over and weekly crushing.
Maturing: We age the wine in French oak barrels and in wooden tun during nearly 12 months before the blending. We also keep the wine in bottles during several months in our cellar, at good temperature and no light before selling.
Vintage: 2006 will go down as a “winemaker’s vintage”. The issue involved the ability to adapt vineyard management and winemaking know-how to unreliable weather conditions (water stress or exuberant growth with a delayed start to ripening in some localities, storms, etc…). In spite of all this, unremitting effort in both vineyards and wineries made 2006 a great vintage for the region and its grenache: clean colours, lovely aromas and well-balanced structures with coated tannins.
“A barrel-maker born in Châteauneuf-du-Pape will eventually think of filling his barrels.” It came to no surprise when the Bouachon family, barrel-makers who had already been selecting grapes to produce wine for others, decided to fill their own barrels in 1898. Maison Bouachon the winery was born.
During the first half of the 20th century, Maison Bouachon was immersed in the viticultural tradition of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Over time, the Maison became familiar with the diversity of regional vines and terroirs while establishing strong ties with local winegrowers. Having gained a foothold in the region, Maison Bouachon continued developing its winemaking skill with the acquisition of barrel chais during the 50s: this included mastering the vinification process as well as perfecting the delicate art of blending and the aging.
Maison Bouachon developed its passion for terroir while seeking the utmost in quality. Close relations were established with growers from one generation to the next. Combining resources and know-how through solid partnerships made it possible to get the most out of vines and terroirs. Exceptional parcels were carefully selected. Grenache, the king of grape varieties in the southern Rhône valley, became central to blending. In the chais, beside the original barrels, new oak casks were used to age the best vintages.
In 2001, Maison Bouachon entered a new era when it became part of Skalli Family Wines. Already considered to be a great name in southern French wine, the Maison now aimed to be the most prominent wine of the appellation Châteauneuf-du Pape. Vintages of extraordinary refinement and complexity were conceived within the Rhône appellation tradition, their well-rounded bouquet revealing a multitude of incredibly fruity, spicy aromas.
Combining full-bodied harmony with exquisite refinement, Maison Bouachon wines remain true to their southern origins today. Served in both traditional and gourmet restaurants, they are also found in wine shops and specialty stores in France and around the world.
Maison Bouachon wines have been expressing the rich variety of their terroir for over a century. They have now become the most prominent wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the choicest appellation of southern France.
Appellation: Gigondas AOC
Varietals: Black Grenache (70 ), Syrah (30)